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Anal Biochem. 1986 Nov 15;159(1):109-13.

Determination of cell number in monolayer cultures.


Determining the cytostatic or cytotoxic effects of various conditions on monolayer cells requires techniques that are rapid, reproducible, and able to monitor these effects as a function of time. Methods currently used to monitor cytostasis or cytotoxicity are either static or indirect; that is, they are designed to test effects of various treatments either at single time points or on associated cellular processes, such as membrane integrity. Because of these limitations in extant techniques, we undertook this study to improve methods for the rapid determination of cell number in monolayer cultures. We have arrived at conditions of staining cell nuclei with crystal violet under fixed regimens which allow rapid and reproducible quantification of cell number in cultures grown in 24-well miniwells. Quantification is possible by solubilizing the adsorbed dye into a solution of Triton X-100 and determining optical density (O.D.) using spectrophotometry. The present communication documents that O.D. is linearly related to cell number with a sensitivity of ca. 500 cells and that the technique is applicable to study agents which affect cell proliferation.

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